Climate Archive: Note 17

Toxic earth, bioaccumulation, who could forget how the things we put into the soil return to us, delivered on aluminum chariots. There are no bison in Colorado, Quincy joked, I’ve never even seen one here. Thinking back through all the years I couldn’t recall a memory either, my first real encounter with these beasts in Yellowstone, Wyoming. Only the plush facsimile of CU Boulder’s mascot whispered lullabies in my sleep. To me they only inhabited the tablelands of my dreams. Don’t leave your car, they warned us that these giants are not as gentle as they might look. So imagine my surprise when through the grapevine the news of their existence found its way into my IPhone screen; the last phantoms of a species that once roamed the prairies in the millions. I had to see them.

An awkward contradiction that nuclear waste saved a species, the way a deadly drug unveiled an underlying predisposition of my body to deteriorate under certain pressures. What was once a chemical weapons manufacturing facility now houses one of the few remaining populations on the Front Range. Migrating so close to poisonous substances, the meat was deemed harmful for human consumption. And so they were left alone. From my Santa Fe I tried to capture an image of the deities, knowing that only the photograph might have the ability to spread farther than the border of the refuge. I imagine a world where they’re once again plentiful, once again free from the gates that currently safeguard them; The protector of those grasslands that hopes to one day roam again.

Slowly but surely, my days lengthen once again. Slowly, not fast enough, but slowly I make the bed.
Climate Archive: Note 42

Always remember, it was stowaway animals and seeds lost in a storm - clinging to life on the backs of debris - that gave way to new species as their ancestors washed ashore to new lands. Where, at once we might consider the alien invasive, in another context - through geologic time, cohabitation, and competition, equilibrium is born once again.

These lost places live on